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Showing posts from July, 2012

Understanding loyalty

I suppose it was inevitable that the opportunity to give the Liberal Democrats a good kicking was just too good to miss. never mind that the UK still has an upper house of Parliament that is partly hereditary and partly a mass of political cronies. Never mind that all parties are committed in theory to at least a partially elected upper house. In the end it was dirty politics and not high principle that won the day. As in so many decades past, the entrenched interests of political expediency stopped any real change. Yet it is yet another example of why the UK is in such a deep mess. Every political party publicly accepts the need to reform our constitution, whether that is for an English Parliament or for English regional/county government reform, or whether to turn the House of Lords into the national chamber, with the House of Commons being the English chamber- there are plenty of ideas of greater or lesser radicalism. In each case, the proposals insist on an elected House of Lor

Playing the blame game as economic recovery is delayed again

As the economic crisis of the West grinds on, I find myself noting that the mistakes of policy are more and more political mistakes, and that the failures of leadership are more and more failures of political leadership.  Attempting to create a safer banking system by forcing increases in reserves, through Basel III or restrictions in concentration, is in fact having almost the precisely opposite effect to that intended. The increase in reserves has not made banks safer, but it has forced a dramatic shrinking in bank balance sheets. The result is a crash dive in lending- especially to the critical small and medium enterprises sector. This is now getting to the stage where, in the words of a senior banker operating across the Baltic and Nordic markets who I was speaking to over the weekend: "within five years, no bank will be able to afford to take on SME lending". This continued credit crunch carries not only short term implications, but also long term implications, since the

Diamond should face a trial

OK, so the Barclay's scandal is just one amongst many. However, the reaction to the forced exit of the unlovely Bob Diamond from the Barclay's PR guys: basically "spread the shit as widely as possible on the government agencies" is so blatant, that to be honest, the government should have a very simple response. Arrest and charge the lot of them. Any Barclay's employee or agent that has been involved in the "take as many of the bastards as I can" project of the unlamented Mr. Diamond should be charged with an attempt to pervert the course of justice. Diamond himself should also be charged.  Trying to blacken the name of HM Government in this puerile way is pretty pathetic, and it does seem to me that legal moves "pour encourager les autres" are rather overdue. Does rather underline why Diamond was a shit though. PS: still think Murdoch should go to gaol first.

Time for remorse

Bob Diamond is a figure who it is hard to love.  Ever since he made the comment that the " time for Banker's remorse was over ", he left a huge hostage to fortune, in the event of anything going wrong at Barclays. As we now know, something has gone wrong, and in the event, Mr. Diamond's bullishness has become his downfall- the time for remorse is now is the almost inevitable headline in most newspapers. Yet, although Bob Diamond may not be the most sympathetic creature, the reality is that - as his own resignation shows- he has not been in control of events. The fact is that the huge banking conglomerates carry within them the seeds of their own destruction. The interconnected nature of the global financial markets has created vast black boxes within the various banks, where few- if any- can understand, let alone control, the risks. The resulting lack of transparency has allowed financial malpractice and even criminality to flourish unchecked. All the Basel

Tory Troubles

The past few weeks have not shown the British Conservative Party in a very good light. The large numbers of "Enoch was right" articles, to commemorate the centenary of the old devil simply reminded me why he had so few political (and not many other) friends. Pedantic and rigid, his vision of Britain was blinkered. Far from being some iconic lost genius, the rather sad cheerleaders from the right wing press simply reminded me of how often the Tories are wrong- and when they are wrong, how seriously wrong they can be. The nonsense of Jeremy Hunt's support for Murdoch was another one of those "whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad" moments. The fact is that Murdoch has been a poisonous and probably criminal influence on British politics for decades. Only the completely blind, or those blinded by arrogance, could have failed to see that the return of Murdoch to the Tory fold was hardly likely to be straightforward. Thus the whole-hearted support by the